Sunday, February 1, 2015

#1,630. Behind Locked Doors (1968)

Directed By: Charles Romine

Starring: Eve Reeves, Joyce Danner, Daniel Garth

Tag line: "A Psycho Waits...To Lure Young Swingers Who Are Stray-And Are Trapped..."

Trivia: This film was also released in an X-rated version, which was titled Then Came Ecstasy

While attending a dance party in the middle of nowhere (held inside a barn, of all places), Ann (Eve Reeves) is nearly raped, and is saved only by the quick thinking of Mr. Bradley (Daniel Garth), an older gentleman who, while out birdwatching, heard the music and wandered in. A thankful Ann introduces her new hero to co-worker Terry (Joyce Danner), who accompanied her to the dance, and the two ask Mr. Bradley to stay, an invitation he reluctantly declines. But this won’t be the last they see of Mr. Bradley; when Ann’s car refuses to start (the two believe it’s out of gas, not realizing the vehicle has been tampered with), they make their way to the large house on the hill, which belongs to… you guessed it… Mr. Bradley, who lives there with his sister, Ida (Irene Lawrence). Invited to spend the night, the girls soon realize something sinister is going on when the door to their room locks only from the outside. Sure enough, Mr. Bradley is not what he seems, and he’s lured the young ladies there to participate in a study he’s conducting, a sexual experiment designed to help him find the perfect mate! When their initial attempts to escape fail, Terry and Ann resort to more drastic measures to bring this nightmare of theirs to an end.

Also released as Any Body… Any Way, 1968’s Behind Locked Doors, a low-budget sexploitation flick shot in upstate New York, kicks off in standard fashion, with some of the young people at the dance breaking away for make-out sessions, during which many of the girls take their tops off. Yet, despite these opening scenes (which also contain the attempted rape of Ann, a sequence that’s as sleazy as it is effective), Behind Locked Doors occasionally strives for something more than your average grindhouse fare. During their first night at the Bradley house, Terry tries to comfort Ann, who’s understandably scared. It’s at this point we realize Terry is a lesbian (she makes a pass at Ann, yet words it so carefully that Ann doesn’t realize it’s a come-on). This scene could have easily gone in a much different direction, one befitting a sexploitation film, but instead it’s handled quite gently, providing insight into Terry’s character without taking things to the extreme (when Ann rolls over and falls asleep, a disappointed Terry decides to sexually satisfy herself instead, yet even her masturbation is handled somewhat tastefully).

Admittedly, these quieter moments are few and far between; for the majority of its runtime, Behind Locked Doors is straight-up exploitation, with nudity, forced sex, and even hints of necrophilia and sadomasochism. Yet the fact that such a low-budget affair (which, by the way, features strong performances from both Joyce Danner as Terry and Daniel Garth as the lecherous Mr. Bradley) also took the time to flesh out (no pun intended) its central characters makes it something of an anomaly, and a welcome one at that.

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